Hail to the winners, the undefeated among us: Frank O’Bannon, Julia and André Carson, Dan Coats, Mitch Daniels, Robert Orr, Lee Hamilton, Todd Young, Bob Knights 1976 Hoosiers, champions in politics and sport.
In their day they were not faced with the duration of defeat and the question of whether to accept such a fate.
There are other modern statesmen and women who have seen the bitterness of defeat: Richard Lugar, Evan and Birch Bayh, Doc Bowen, Andy Jacobs Jr., Bill Hudnut, Steve Goldsmith, Dan Quayle, Joe Kernan, John Gregg, and Pete Buttigieg . With their defeats, they accepted their fate with varying degrees of humility and grace. There are those like Mike Pence, John Brademas and Phil Sharp who would come back from the spines of multiple defeats to reach the winning circle.
In the coming weeks and months, the Hoosier Republicans will face a choice: whether they will accept the fate of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of voters, or whether they will accept the corrupt motives, sticks and bargains of the autocratic ex-President Donald Trump, who lives according to Roy Cohn’s creed never to accept defeat; Simply proclaim victory in the face of empirical results and evidence.
The fate of the republic, the fragile American experience in democracy, may depend on these individual – but collective – choices. If Americans no longer accept the legitimacy of victory and the judgment of defeat, American democracy will wane and perhaps collapse.
Raised in Indiana, a Hoosier student was taught, “Winners never cheat, and cheaters never win.” In this context, the notion of a “sorrowful loser” was implicit: they were never celebrated, but mocked and thrown away.
Every Memorial Day, a Hoosier schoolboy was on the radio with Paul Page and called the Indianapolis 500. Many of us had the Walter Mitty experience and pictured himself standing on the milk-splattered podium hosted by four-time champions AJ Foyt, Al Unser. was revisited by Rick Mears and Helio Castroneves. There may have been tears from defeating Scott Goodyear or Marco Andretti or from defeats in the millisecond range, but they accepted their fate, perhaps realizing that it was as close as possible to victory. Maybe a tear would shed on Gasoline Alley, but they never whined.
Indiana has a rich champion culture that begins with Knute Rockne of Notre Dame and extends through decades of titleholders: Jerry Sloan of the University of Evansville; Allen Bradfield of Vincennes University; Branch McCracken, Bob Knight, Doc Counsilman, and Jerry Yeagley at old IU; Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine, Lou Holtz, and Muffet McGraw in Notre Dame; Carolyn Peck at Purdue; Slick Leonard with the Pacers and Lin Dunn with the Fever; Tony Dungy with the Colts; and Tony Hinkle at Butler.
Sports and politics merged in 2016 when Trump persuaded the state to storm the state with coaches Gene Keady, Holtz and Knight (who convinced the Manhattan billionaire to find the White House).
President Trump’s tenure in the White House has been tumultuous to say the least. He fought openly with National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and ended his tenure by inciting an insurgent mob in the US Capitol to “hang Mike Pence” on January 6th.
Coats penned a September 17, 2020 comment for the New York Times in which the former Indiana Senator set out the stakes: “The voters … survive. The enemies of our democracy at home and abroad want us to admit beforehand that our electoral systems are flawed or fraudulent; that sinister conspiracies have distorted the political will of the people. “
Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan wrote in a comment last month: “Our constitutional crisis is already here.” Kagan writes: “Trump and his Republican allies are actively preparing to ensure his victory by all means necessary. Trump’s allegations of fraud in the 2020 elections are now primarily aimed at establishing the predicate in order to contest future election results that do not go in his direction. “
According to an analysis by Adam Serwer of The Atlantic, “1. Trump tried to pressure foreign ministers not to certify; 2. Tried to pressure state lawmakers to overturn the results. 3. Tries to get the courts to overturn the results. 4. Tried pressuring Mike Pence to overturn the results. 5. When all else failed, Trump tried to get a mob to overturn the results. “
As of Jan. 6, there have been 11 states that have changed laws that allow partisan committees to determine the acceptance of election results, unlike the various foreign ministers – including Republicans in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona – who have made the right calls in 2020.
In the months ahead, individual Republicans on the horizon will be able to help shape the course of the GOP and the future of American democracy. According to filmmaker Ken Burns, “there are three major crises before that in the American experience: the Civil War, the Depression, and World War II. That is synonymous. “
Is it now “all in love and war”? Or should it be more like “this is how you play the game”? About how to accept the results without blaming and whining to anyone else or changing the rules.
The fate of the republic hangs in the balance.